Iowa Football

Iowa football: 5 Things to know about Purdue

Boilermakers can pass, but that's about it

Purdue quarterback Jack Plummer hands off to running back Tario Fuller during Saturday's game against Maryland at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Ind. (Thomas J. Russo/USA TODAY Sports)
Purdue quarterback Jack Plummer hands off to running back Tario Fuller during Saturday's game against Maryland at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Ind. (Thomas J. Russo/USA TODAY Sports)
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Is Purdue the medicine the Iowa football team needs to get its offense off life support?

The Boilermakers are just 2-4 overall, 1-2 in the Big Ten. They give up 29.8 points and more than 444 yards per game.

On top of that, it’s homecoming in Iowa City.

Is this “get well week” inside Kinnick Stadium for a Hawkeye team that has scored just 15 points the last two weeks?

We’ll see. Just remember one thing — Purdue owns a two-game winning streak over Iowa (4-2, 1-2). It won last year, 38-36, in West Lafayette and whipped the Hawkeyes, 24-15, in Iowa City in 2017.

Here are 5 Things about the Boilermakers.

1. Cradle of Quarterbacks

That’s a tag Purdue has carried for many years, and rightfully so.

Only two schools have produced three Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks and Purdue is one of them (Alabama is the other).

Len Dawson directed the Kansas City Chiefs to an NFL title in 1970. Bob Griese quarterbacked the Miami Dolphins to Super Bowl wins in 1972 and ’73 and Drew Brees took the New Orleans Saints to the top in 2009.

Dawson and Griese are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Brees certainly will be joining them once he hangs up his cleats.

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Griese, Mike Phipps (1967-69) and Mark Hermann (1977-90) all are in the College Football Hall of Fame.

Others who have bee under center in West Lafayette, Ind., include Jim Everett, Jeff George, Iowan Kyle Orton and Gary Danielson. To name a few.

And, now, the Boilermakers have ...

2. ... A new kid on the block

Jack Plummer is a redshirt freshman from Gilbert, Ariz., who started the season No. 2 behind fifth-year senior Elijah Sindelar, the heir apparent to some of Purdue’s great QBs (according to some).

Sindelar didn’t disappoint early, passing for 423 yards in the opener against Nevada (a 34-31 loss) and 509 yards and five touchdowns in a win over Vanderbilt, the first Purdue QB to pass for that many yards since the aforementioned Orton in 2004. Sindelar completed 34 of 52 passes in that win and earned Big Ten Player of the Week honors.

But he suffered a concussion and missed the game against TCU. He came back against Minnesota, but injured his collarbone and now is out for the season.

 

Enter Plummer, who grew up in the same town as Iowa State QB Brock Purdy.

Plummer struggled against TCU, completing just 13 of 29 passes with two interceptions. But he’s getting better and, last week in a 40-14 win over Maryland, completed 33 of 41 for 420 yards and three TDs.

The 6-foot-5, 220-pound Plummer has completed 59.4 percent of his passes this season for 965 yards with seven TDs and four interceptions.

And, guess, what? He earned Big Ten Player of the Week on Monday.

Not bad for a rookie, but he wasn’t the only ...

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3. ... Fantastic freshmen

Plummer was one of four Purdue freshmen who impacted Saturday’s win.

David Bell, a 6-2, 210-pounder from Indianapolis, was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week after catching nine passes for 139 yards and two of Plummer’s three TD passes.

The receptions, yards and TDs were career highs and he’s only the third Purdue freshman to put up those kinds of numbers.

 
 

He has 26 catches this year for 438 yards, averaging 16.8 per catch.

Three other freshmen also scored for Purdue Saturday — running back King Doerue on a 4-yard run, receiver Milton Wright on a 59-yard pass from Plummer and safety Cory Trice on a 37-yard interception return.

That was a lot of fireworks from a ...

4. ... Struggling offense

The Boilermakers rank 10th nationally with 324.5 passing yards per game, but that’s where the fun ends.

Purdue is averaging just 63.5 rushing yards — that’s last in the Big Ten by a large margin — and its 388-yard average total offense comes in ninth. Doerue is the leading rusher with 226 yards in six games — that’s 37.7 per game and 3.4 per carry.

This makes the Boilermakers pretty one-dimensional and the defense also is a bit of a ...

5. ... Weak link

As mentioned earlier, Purdue has been rather suspect this fall on defense.

The Boilermakers are giving up 166.5 rushing yards and 278 passing yards a game.

Ben Holt leads the defense with 60 tackles, 31 more than No. 2 George Karlaftis. But it’s Karlaftis, another of Purdue’s fantastic freshmen, who is the most disruptive with 9.5 tackles for loss and 4.0 sacks. Both are team highs.

Comments: (319) 368-8696; jr.ogden@thegazette.com

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